Guest blogger: Jon Pettick-Perez … Wrapping up Traverse City


I want to thank Rick Carpiniello for the outstanding coverage he brings to Rangers fans everywhere. One of the most important parts of his blog is giving us the opportunity to interact with him and other fans, while also giving some readers the ability to blog their thoughts. This was my first time in Traverse City and it’s been an amazing week. The area is beautiful, the people are extremely friendly, and the tournament is something to be seen. In some ways outside of the NHL and international tourneys, this is the highest level of competition you will see. MSG provided their fans with awesome coverage and they also provided exposure and resources for the tournament itself, so much appreciation to them for that.

Since there were guest bloggers who did incredible jobs on individual game and player accounts, I’m not going to delve too far into individual recaps. I’m going to try to give different perspective of the tournament: as a whole and as seen in live person.

The tournament is held at Centre Ice Arena, which is where the Detroit Red Wings hold their training camp. The complex is designed as a main concourse with two rinks on either side. Very small, very intimate, with a strong turnout comprised of both front office personnel as well as NHL alumni. The rinks themselves have bleachers on only one side, nine rows deep, and they approximately hold 325 people in seats, with standing room behind. The spectators are made up of Michigan natives, players’ parents, and organizational people. The entire Rangers contingent was on hand including the captain and his lieutenant, Mess and Gravy, as well as assistant coach Mike Sullivan,  and they all watched front and center throughout the entire tournament. So to give readers a perspective of what it’s like: All eyes on are the prospects, there is nowhere to hide, and you must go out and compete.

From the get-go, one of the most obvious things was that the new-found Rangers culture of hard-working, no-nonsense, head-down, straight-ahead thinking, has already been instilled in the newest crop of prospects. These guys get it, and it’s a compliment to the shift in organizational philosophy and consistent re-enforcement of this philosophy. Credit goes to the Rangers player development office, theirs scouts, and most importantly to Ken Gernander and the Connecticut Whale coaching staff who led the prospect team this year as they do every year.

Game 1 against the St. Louis was sort of a family affair, with JD and the Blues contingency sitting right next to the Rangers people. To me, the game started off a little slow, with guys getting their feet wet and working out some of the nerves. Things that were noticeable right away, was the communication from tournament vets such as Dylan Mcllarth and Ryan Bourque. This quickly spread through the bench and helped the team calm down and subsequently turn it up a notch. Goaltender Jason Missiaen helped provided stability on the back line until the rangers got their gears going, so credit must go to him for playing poised in what was as stated by Gordie Clark, his first action against this level of competition. For his size, he was pretty squared up and didn’t have too much wasted movement. Being said, it’s going to take a 6-foot-8 man a little while to learn how to close all those holes. All in all, the most valuable players in Game 1 were the ones you’d expect to carry a team of rookies through their first game together.  Mcllarth, Carl Hagelin, the goaltender, current AHL players Blake Parlett and Tommy Grant, and Swedish Elite League alumni Tim Erixon all stood out as tone-setters.

Game 2 turned out to be the most complete and dominate exhibition of the entire tournament for the Rangers. Having skipped practice that morning in order to give the players a good breakfast and conduct team meetings, the team was fresh and really impressed throughout the game. It was during this game that one of the tournament stand-outs, 2011 fifth-round draft pick, Shane McColgan started putting together some real good play and it was something that you could see progress through the final three games. It might have been missed on TV, but moments before McColgan got into a little tussle with a Stars player, one Ranger on the bench slammed his stick on the board in frustration to a play deemed punishable by the entire Rangers squad. It was good to see a guy on the bench that passionate and it was equally good to see McColgan take matters into his own hands, against a guy who he could match up with. You don’t want guys going in over their heads when it comes to holding the line and standing up for your team. But it is nice to see a guy willing and able to handle his own in the right situation. Fellow 2011 draftee Michael St. Croix had his strongest game of the tournament during this second game. Goaltender Scott Stajcer looked like Canada’s World Championship goalie, Stajcer dazzled in the second game. I think Rangers fans will be sure to see some of him in the main training camp.

Game 3 saw a winless Carolina team come out hungry and aggressive against the rangers. They were flying around and they were crashing the net, heavily. The Rangers stood toe to toe with them, but for the most part were always counter-stepping or catching up to their pace. This type of play was indicative of what I saw out of 2011 first-round draft pick JT Miller. He always stood up, he was always around, but most times seemed to be making his first step just a hair late. At this point in his progression that may be the speed at which he processes certain parts of the game and that’s OK. That’s something he needs to work on, and at least he can go back to the tape, see it for himself, and begin to correct it. On the occasions in which Miller had that first step, he dominated play and puck possession and definitely has certain Dubinsky-Callahan like attributes in those areas of the game which were very noticeable. All in all, I’m very excited about JT Miller as a professional player. Players who had strong games included but not limited to, Christian Thomas, Jonathan Audy-Marchessault, Carl Hagelin, Shane McColgan,  and defensemen Collin Bowman who was in traverse on a tryout basic.

Game 4 was a classic case of mismatches and differences. The Sabres were older, bigger, more experienced, and had practiced the morning of the championship. The Rangers had a young squad who aren’t professionally conditioned to practice and then play a game six hours later. I think these factors made a big difference in the game and at least to me; it certainly affected the start of the game. With the stands relatively packed for this championship game and their own self-imposed pressure or desire to win the tournament, the Rangers came out tight and the Sabres pounced on them right away. From the first shift of the game, until the 15-minute mark, the Rangers were out-skated and quick-sticked by the bigger more ready Sabres. Credit should be given to this young Rangers team for stopping the bleeding, and getting a goal before the first intermission, heading into the break down 2-1. One player who was not out-skated in the first stanza was Ryan Bourque who was flat-out skating out of his skates. The second period was much more along the lines of what the other nine periods of hockey looked like in this tournament. Blake Parlett and Tim Exiron were the Rangers best defensemen and the line of Carl Hagelin-Shane McColgan-JT Miller were by far the Rangers go-to line in the second. It was unfortunate that after tying up the score at 2 before the end of the second, that the Rangers again let up the go-ahead goal 1:36 seconds into the third. Having to play catch-up again proved to be too much for the Rangers as late goals cemented the decision. But most important to me,  at that point in which was realistically an exhibition game, was the fact that the Rangers didn’t stop skating until that final whistle. If you’re going to give up in the end, why try in the first place? And the Rangers didn’t give up. They might have been beaten in this game, but they didn’t give up. And in a tournament in which small leads turned into blowout wins, the Rangers kept it close to the final buzzer. In the end, the Rangers might have been done in by special teams play. Obviously the PK and defensive zone positioning and responsibilities is something that needs to be taught, and these young guys will learn going through the main training camp and heading forward, but the Sabres had too many PP chances, too much space, and too much time. Bad recipe. Another player who I noted as having a strong game was Randy McNaught, who really seems to know what his bread and butter is. As he improves his skating, I definitely think this is a guy you will you see on big clubs 4th line in the future.

The Rangers D is one area in which the rich are going to keep getting richer. Each and every defensemen on the Rangers prospect roster had periods of really strong play in which you could see how their game would translate to the pros. AHL player Blake Parlett was extremely strong and steady through-out, and was actually tied for the top point scorer in the tournament after two games with five points. Excluding the two puck-moving defensemen, Exiron and Parlett, all of the other six defensemen ( Mcllarth, Noreau, Niemi, Baldwin, Bowman, and Ceresnak) are big, gritty guys , who skate pretty well for their size, and used their long reach to their advantage, effectively most times.  Exiron is clearly on a different level in many ways, having played 140 games in the Swedish elite league. His hockey IQ and ability to hold onto and move the puck in tight situations is something you can’t teach, and I believe the physicality of the sport is something you can teach. I don’t know if he begins the season in the AHL. But mark my words. Tim Exiron is going to be one of our top six D-men for a long time. Mcllarth had a strong start to the tourney, but definitely tailed off as Games 3 and 4 went on. Whether it was the speed and pressure put on by both Carolina and Buffalo, or him chasing hits around, his play led to a few goals and penalties. It became clear, he was a little unsure about the balancing act he needs to play in order to play effectively for the team and effectively to his talents. However, it’s important to include A) that some of the penalties  wouldn’t have been called by NHL officials, and B) he will become a better skater as time goes on. On the front end, there were many positive signs. Big man on the team, Randy McNaught played well in Game 1 and Game 3. He kept players honest and on edge when he was on the ice. Another player who had good first and third games was Christian Thomas. In the first game, he was putting a lot of shots on net and couldn’t buy a goal. Game 3 however, was his curtain-call game, regardless of his cough-up which led to the game winning goal in double overtime. The guy showed a lightning quick release, which he can get off in the tightest of situations in a heartbeat. Offensivemen, Jonathan Audy-Machessault, Ryan Bourque, Christian Thomas, and Carl Hagelin were the quickest players on the team.

I think it’s important to take the tournament for what it is. The majority of these players have the ability and skills to make the NHL. However, as Gordie Clark put it to me, this tournament is used to see how far away these guys are from helping the big club. “Is this guy a year away, two years away, six months away, etc.”. It’s an indicator for the organization to see how these guys developed in the last year, close up, and to determine what they still need to work on. It gives the organization an understanding of what they have in the pipeline and when these assets are going to be available to inset into the big club. Additionally it gives the players a platform against other top players in their age-group, so that they can see for themselves where they’re at and what they need to work on. So even though the Rangers placed second in the tournament, it was an astounding positive for the New York Rangers organization. The team got to play in the championship game, with something tangible at stake, and the internal pressure that comes with it.

Good work by members of the Rangers family. Welcome to the new prospects. Good luck and get to work. See ya down the line. Now can we get this season going or what?

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  1. Wicky(grating PIBG)© (The she/it on our D is sofa king SOFT!!!) on

    Morning ILB and all!!
    what, no first?? You on vacay or something??

    Didn’t dallas file for bankruptcy also??

    Are the TC stats available anywhere?

    Stayed up til 0300 playing NHL12!

    Training camp start tomorrow?

  2. That was a very good wrap up. Agree on all points. The rangers have some serious prospect depth. The first rounders need some more work/time but Erixon, Parlett, Hagelin could definitely challenge for a spot this year. Borque (Callahan Jr) looks ready for a look as compared to previous years.

  3. Superb analysis..covered all phases of the games and players assessments. I couldn’t have said it better myself …or as well.

  4. Yo JPP, wonderful overview of the Traverse City tourney. Do you double as a defensive end with the NY Giants. :-)

    Have to disagree a bit on some of your observations:Christian Thomas may have a quick release, but almost everyone of those shots were into the stick or body of the defensman in front of him. He got very few shots on net in the four games. When he got one in the direction of the net, it was usually wide. I was also disappointed in his shot velocity. He was voted by coaches as the second hardest shot in the OHL, but it was not apparent to me. I don’t recall the goalies having to make a single tough save on him. I love his overall game: He’s fast, has a great on ice work ethic, he’s elusive, gritty, high hockey IQ, physical, sees the ice well, sends and receives passes well and plays both ends. Lets see if he’s more effective with his shooting when camp begins.

    McIlrath’s game deteriorated seriously after the first game. In the third game I counted four turnovers and there may have been more. He was so bad that when they interviewed Clark, Graves and other Ranger bigwigs, DM’s name never came up even once after the first game while Miller, Bourque, Hagelin, Thomas, Erixon, JAM, Parlett and Mcolgan were consistently praised. Again, let’s see how he does at camp.

    Stacjer may have been injured and his poor performance yesterday may have been a result. but it’s hard to overlook his lack of lateral speed and his overall lack of aggressiveness particularly when he didn’t come out to reduce the angle on the two goals from the right wing. All in all I felt he was more suspect than prospect. We can only hope LQ plays forever because right now there doesn’t seem to be a single legitimate goalie prospect in the entire organization.

  5. Wicky(grating PIBG)© (The she/it on our D is sofa king SOFT!!!) on

    Have the rangers invited anyone to camp yet? I see the flyers invited mair and some other teams had some invites.

  6. Wicky(grating PIBG)© (The she/it on our D is sofa king SOFT!!!) on

    Ok, I’m freaked out…going to get canned food and bottled water and head to the bunker and wait for the zombies…I miss you guys and thanks for everything…LGR!!!

  7. Good later morning all! JPP, that was an awesome post. Great job by all the guests this week. And Sally, too! :)

  8. Great speeeeed, Wicky. You’re much faster than Bourke, Hagelin and Thomas combined…in typing. And more prolific too. Slightly soft in shots, thou…

  9. Oh, women power! Mama, even in your absents, unwillingly, you could ignite a fight between Tiki and me.(see last late thread). Unprovoked drama unfolded by very protective fan. He could be potentially very good goalie on guard, if you would sit deep in the net (hope it doesn’t sound ambiguous). lol.

  10. It’s prime time in Israel.
    I’m worried sick about ilb.,- it’s so uncharacteristic of him to miss 40 posts without reaction, feels wrong. Hope all his electronics works, and he is just stopped driving his iPhone and consuming surrounding beautifulness and pleasantries of vacation.

  11. Good afternoon 4ever! ilb and mrs. will be fine. If anyone knows how to handle themselves, it’s Prust, er, ilb! :)

  12. Per Zipay: The training camp roster has not yet been announced, but Newsday has confirmed that defenseman Wade Redden, 34, who was waived on Sept. 25 last year and then assigned to the AHL, will not be on it.
    The declining play of Redden and the burden of his six-year, $39-million contract, which he signed on July 1, 2008 after playing 11 years with the Ottawa Senators, had prompted the 2010 demotion.
    Redden was 8-34-42 in 70 games for the Connecticut Whale last season. He was the highest-paid player in the league.

  13. Gamefly is this game I used to play with my brothers growing up. We would find a fly in the house and then see who could catch it. Then the person that caught it could make another one eat it.

  14. Manny, LMAO!

    4ever, threads like last night make me glad I went niters early. Good grief.

    Off running again…later!

  15. I see, but after 4 months you could outright own a game. Doesn’t make sense unless you plan on only playing the game for 3 months.

  16. I guess the advantage is that you could buy the games you know you’re going to play for a few months and then rent the games that you want to try out. Purchase protection!

    The last game system I owned was N64. They did not have this service then.

  17. Yeah I guess for me I don’t really play that many games outside of NHL or FIFA. So I play those for the year and just get the new one.

    My friend and I played in the EASHL last night (you and your friends create players join a team and play against other teams online) and we played against a guy that already had like 60 points. After the game has been out for only 2 days!

  18. Netflix >>>> Gamefly

    with Netflix you actually get the movies you want (usually it arrives within a day or so) and you can watch tons of movies online.

    With Gamefly you never get what you want (unless you add the game 6 month before the actual release). gamefly pucking sucks!

  19. Yeah! I don’t care for the Kunis leaked pics, since they’re pretty much all Timberlake lameness, but there was some texts that she sent. Seems like good reading material from what I’ve heard.

    I hope these hackers have grasshoppers in training that can take over once they’re arrested. Need someone to keep this thing going!

  20. Same with me, Manny. Every article I’ve read says “leaked online”, but it’s not on any site. I did read that the guy was trying to sell the pics and texts to that Perez Hilton bouche, as well as other sites. Someone will eventually buy it and pop them online.

  21. Wicky(grating PIBG)© (The she/it on our D is sofa king SOFT!!!) on

    There (or their or they’re) is apparently a tour de france game out for ps3 and xbox…who knew (or new)??

  22. czechthemout!!!! on

    From last post.

    I was not clear enough in my comment about defensemen who were NHL ready from the tournament.

    What I meant was that from the Rangers, the only dman who is NHL ready is Erixon. In fact he is the only one on the roster who al have a long career. Mcilrath will be nothing but a number six or seven if that. His skating reminds me of Jessiman’s . In fact my friend has already started to refer to him as Hugh Mcilrath.

    The best looking d prospect to me was Ryan Murphy. That kid looked like a star skating around the other players.

  23. That sounds like a great game, wicky. I hope they add some features like that great old Sega Genesis game, “Road Rash.” I would totally reenact the Tour De France on my game console if I could carry a chain, bat or knife of some sort with which to attack other riders.

  24. I really like when Owen Wilson is training for bike racing in that movie You, Me and Dupree. He keeps yelling at Lance Armstrong on the television video he uses for inspiration. Super funny.

  25. Wicky(grating PIBG)© (The she/it on our D is sofa king SOFT!!!) on

    I’m not sure yet, just found out about it, have to do some research

  26. our boy paul mara invited to isles training camp. hope he doesnt make it. liked him and if he plays for isles couldnt root for him

  27. Mcilrath will be nothing but a number six or seven if that. His skating reminds me of Jessiman’s . In fact my friend has already started to refer to him as Hugh Mcilrath.


    Oh so if you’re friend calls him Hugh McIlrath i guess the kid is a bust after all.

    You came to that conclusion after watching him play in how many games? at what level? how the hell do you know where McIlrath will end up at this point in kid’s career?? Its beyond hilarious to make statements like you have.

    he is not NHL ready, yet… but that’s the ting…he is working on it! Look at Boyle! A simple skating lesson turned the guy into a 20 goal scorer last year!


  28. he is not NHL ready, yet… but that’s the ting…he is working on it! Look at Boyle! A simple skating lesson turned the guy into a 20 goal scorer last year!



    He’ll be ready in tree years.

  29. This is what Brian Boyle needs to do: Go home tonight and watch Blades of Glory. Realize that he should be acting more like the Will Ferrell character. Stop acting like the Napoleon Dynamite kid and GET TOUGH!

  30. If he wants to get tough he should watch Happy Gilmore. CCCP can help him dress the part with his Zubaz pants.

  31. czechthemout!!!! on

    so 7 years after being drafted we can look forward to mcilrath being on the third pair at the age of 25 wow

  32. Wicky(grating PIBG)© (The she/it on our D is sofa king SOFT!!!) on

    No offence but you seem quite a bit “overboard” on this.

  33. Wicky(grating PIBG)© (The she/it on our D is sofa king SOFT!!!) on

    I mean I understand if the rangers took a player you didn’t want instead of someone you thought they should take, but that is like me saying jt miller will suck because I wanted someone else that was available!

  34. I’m glad that Teemu Selanne is coming back for another season! That guy is a living hockey legend!

    LOL! Dubinsky is earning more than Selanne next year!! Bwahaha! That’s fair…

  35. Shoot the puck, Barry on

    Great blog postings all week– fun reading about these guys. Let’s be patient here– they are seriously young! And good point about the Buffalo prospects- they looked older and bigger to me, and I am an untrained eye in terms of prospects.

    I really am curious to see if a guy like Bourque will make the team this year. It may be numbers, but he’s going to have to knock someone off the team with his play. Erixon you can stash at Hartford for a while and bring him up if someone doesn’t perform or gets hurt. Do you guys think MDZ will be on the team this year, is he trade bait, or should the organIzation just be patient with him as he’s still young?

    I really believe that this is the year the Rangers will make some noise and go to the 2nd round, and position themselves real nice for a great 2013 run and beyond. These prospects, along with Kreider, are going to enable us to be good for a long time (even if it is not actually them, we have some good pieces for a big trade or two.)

    I am more excited about our future than I have been in a long time!

  36. SEVEN YEARS?? who said that? The kid is only 19!!!! He was just drafted last year and according to the REAL specialists, he has made considerable improvements over that year.

    I’m not gonna make any predictions but I am sure it wont take 7 years for the kid to make the NHL.

  37. Good afternoon, ‘heads!

    We are fine. Spent all day in Jordan, visited Petra and Wadi Rum. Amazing experience. And very safe. The only negative- apparently I didn’t tell XComglobal tgat I would be visiting Jordan for a day, so my MiFi didn’t work :-).
    Good review, JPP
    I didn’t get a chance to watch tge final game, so I don’t have much to add. But reading some of the posts today all I can remind you is tgat none of us is a professional scout or a GM. And, folks, this is a good thing.

  38. That’s right, Manny….

    It’s 23:10 here( this is for Wicky) and we have an early morning again. So I’m out. Which reminds me, we’ll Be scuba diving in red sea most of the day tomorrow. I highly doubt I’ll be able to blog down there. So can someone please open the thread tomorrow? Thanks. :-)

  39. czechthemout!!!! on


    I don’t think I’m going overboard mcilrath looks like garbage stating stinks cos positioning plate is bad he just does not look like a first round draft pick out there

  40. Gordie Clark was a bust. He was named after Gordie Howe and Bobby Clarke but he never became either.

  41. Nine Amish were sentenced to jail in Kentucky for breaking a state law that requires them to put orange signs on their horse-drawn buggies.

    The triangular signs are required as a safety warning to indiciate slow-moving vehicles. But the men refused to comply with the law because their religious beliefs forbid them from wearing bright colors, The Courier-Journal reported.

    LMAO @ mugshots

  42. oh you mean in the new NHL12 game? i haven’t checked that yet but i think i saw Bourque on the Rangers when i started the Legend mode. I only played one game so far.

  43. No, C3. He means in NHL13, ya know, the game with the Callahan holding the Stanley Cup on the front… ;)

  44. Wicky(grating PIBG)© (The she/it on our D is sofa king SOFT!!!) on

    This is an evaluation from ONE person (rotter who is on wasabi —> a lot) about mcilrath…not sure where I read bust in any of this. Or 6 or 7 dman either!

    Dylan McIlrath: The team Captain during the tournament was 19-year-old Dylan McIlrath. The 2010 first-round pick recorded five shots and 15 penalty-minutes. He got into one fight. McIlrath’s paly was very impressive during the first two games, but he seemed to fizzle out as the tournament went on. His physical strength was evident throughout the tournament, and he has “crease-clearing defenseman” written all over him. McIlrath will likely spend another year in the WHL with the Moose Jaw Warriors before making the jump to the AHL or NHL.

  45. Wicky(grating PIBG)© (The she/it on our D is sofa king SOFT!!!) on

    My bad it was from nick peri on rotter’s blog

  46. Tiki, did you really call Rachunek a bum? the guy passed away for crying out loud, show some respect at the very least.

  47. ye, im totally done with him now. the buttons have been pushed for way too long. i just dont understand how someone even has the nerve to type stuff like that.

  48. Sour Power wont be skating tomorrow. Healing from some kind of knee injury.

    I forget how injury prone this kid was before last season. Something to worry aboot!

    Schenn re-signs with Leafs for five years. Everyone bu Doughty is signing. I don’t know what they doughy bastard is waiting for.

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